Andros Townsend has started to capture the headlines for all the right footballing reasons. He made his full England debut against Montenegro recently and starred in a solid England performance, grabbing an impressive goal in the process. This was followed with another good show in England’s must-win-match against Poland, where he helped England to a comfortable 2-0 victory.
His return to domestic action saw him take centre stage for Spurs, as they continued their impressive form in the league. He scored the opener, albeit in fortuitous circumstances to set Spurs on their way.
Andre Villas Boas has reacted sensibly to media speculation comparing Townsend to Bale, saying “don’t compare him to Bale.”
The British press are always looking for a good story, but the rush over the last few days to describe Andros Townsend as the natural replacement to Gareth Bale, which incidentally makes a mockery of the £109 million spent by Spurs, is laughable in itself. Let us wind the clock back and put things into perspective when we talk about Andros Townsend. Townsend made his first Premier League start for Spurs only two months ago (as reported in the Evening Standard 21.10.13). Before his last loan spell at QPR, he was loaned out to 8 different clubs, none of which were in the Premier League. In 110 appearances for clubs ranging from Yeovil Town to Birmingham City he scored a total of 12 goals. In fairness to Andros, he does have a pedigree at international level, as he has represented England at various levels before getting his full cap against Montenegro. Talking of the Montenegro match, yes it was a good England performance, but again the media has been guilty of grossly over-hyping both individual and team performances. This was a team/country with a population comparable to the city of Glasgow. They are ranked 54th in the FIFA World Rankings. Teams such as the Cape Verde Islands, Iran and even Scotland are ranked significantly better than Montenegro.
To help crystallise the thoughts of football fans still further I want you to have a look at this short football clip which shows a young footballer scoring a goal of sheer brilliance; almost ala Fashanu, if you can cast your memories back to that Norwich vs. Liverpool game in 1979. The first clip here is Stephanie Roche who plays for Peamount United in the Irish Women’s League. I am sure those of you who appreciate brilliant football will all agree that her goal was something special. Incredibly, EA Sports have decided, on the back of her goal that she will be the first woman to ever feature in their iconic video game. It’s great to see EA Sports catching up with the times and recognising Women’s football. Interestingly Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored another great goal at the weekend for PSG. Wilshere and Ramsey both scored amazing goals against Norwich. But, you know what? Stephanie’s goal tops the lot. Given the struggles that the Irish team are going through at the moment they could do a lot worse than get Roche in to partner Keane up front.
Getting back to the reason I wrote this piece – while Bale was being sold to Real Madrid for 100 million Euros, Andros Townsend was linked with a £5M move to Swansea. Fortunately for him he did not leave and now he is really taking his chance in the absence of Aaron Lennon with both hands. Lennon is due back soon and was in the squad that went to Villa Park. AvB will have an interesting dilemma on his hands but Townsend has surely done enough to keep his place in the starting line-up. Naturally, Spurs and England fans will have embraced Andros Townsend on the back of his recent stella performances. I hope the media will stop the ridiculous Bale comparisons and let Townsend play his own game without the burden of expectation, which if unchecked could be very costly both for the future career of this talented young man and for Spurs.